Bill that would allow Gov. Hochul's running mate to be removed from ballot faces pushback

Westchester Democratic Assembly Member Amy Paulin introduced legislation Benjamin's name to be removed after he was arrested earlier this week.

News 12 Staff

Apr 15, 2022, 10:18 PM

Updated 830 days ago

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Proposed legislation that would allow Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin's name to be removed from the ballot before the election is facing pushback from some lawmakers.
Westchester Democratic Assembly Member Amy Paulin introduced legislation Benjamin's name to be removed after he was arrested earlier this week.
However, two Republicans are in opposition of the legislation.
Rockland County Republican Assembly Member Mike Lawler and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino call the legislation a "dubious legislative maneuver."
"You can't change the rules in the middle of the game," Lawler says. "She chose poorly, and she should live with the consequences of that."
Lawler and Astorino say it's a sneaky attempt for Hochul to appoint a new running mate before the June primary.
Benjamin stepped down Tuesday after he was arrested on federal bribery charges.
Right now, election law deems Benjamin can only be removed from the ballot if he dies, runs for another office or moves out of state.
Paulin says she wants to change the law to allow a candidate to withdraw their name if they're charged with a crime or battling a serious illness.
"The voters deserve to vote for a candidate that's going to serve them," Paulin says.
Astorino and Lawler say they will consider it, but not right before an election.
Paulin says her Republican counterparts think leaving Benjamin on the ticket will help them, but she says Hochul didn't ask her to do this and that it is not a political stunt.
News 12 asked Hochul, who was in Westchester County Friday, about the bill. She said there are a lot of options and that she will consider it if it passes both houses. She add that it is not her focus right now.
"There's a lot of need throughout this state. People want their government to pay attention to them and not worry about the politics, and that's exactly what I'm laser-focused on," Hochul said.
If the Legislature votes on Paulin's bill, it would have to pass by the beginning of May to take effect for the primary.
The law prevents rule changes 53 days before an election.


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